Re-discovering the Love of Learning at a Private School

“My name is Kirsten and I am the mother of two beautiful daughters. We have experienced a lot of different educational nuances. I have always been an advocate of solid education. I’m an engineer by training so I believe in S.T.E.M. training – a very disciplined, consistent curriculum. I found myself pretty disappointed with some of the curriculum that has been introduced into the public school system for S.T.E.M. training – things like the fuzzy math and accommodating some less rigorous approaches to
science and technology.

My older daughter started at the public school in 1st grade. Her teachers have all been very good and well-meaning but she’s unfortunately been subjected to a lot of turnover. With the distance learning I watched her disconnect more and more from the curriculum and from the love of learning. I quickly realized that we needed to do something as I watched how the policies and discussions were really sacrificing the quality of education. I watched my daughter firsthand just disengage further and further from the material. As an engineer, it was really hard to watch her go from loving learning math and science to almost having an adverse reaction to trying to learn on the computer.

It became apparent that we needed to find an environment for our child that was more conducive to inviting parental involvement, supporting us as parents, and making sure that what our child was learning was disciplined and focused and didn’t allow itself to get too pulled into the day-to-day drama – the kind that as a country we’re seeing right now.

We found the Challenger (Private) School system in Utah that seemed to have a curriculum that was very disciplined, straightforward, and value-based. We have just watched her flourish, it’s like a whole new child. She comes home excited to share her homework with me. There’s that love of learning that we were just not able to foster in her previous learning environment.

All parents should have the opportunity to find the environment that works for their child. We need to continue to make sure whatever structural changes are made, make that available to all children. I’m an advocate for parental rights. I’m an advocate for ensuring that what your children are learning is in line with your home’s values and vision – also ensuring that the most disadvantaged among us still have access to the same quality and high standards because when you ask children to reach them they will reach them.”

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1 thought on “Re-discovering the Love of Learning at a Private School”

  1. Dr. Dell K. Allen

    Thanks Kirsten, for sharing,
    It has also been disappointing, and disturbing for me a retired professor of engineering to see what has happened at all levels of education.

    After designing, creating and teaching course at the baccalaureate and graduate levels for 38 years I finally discovered in my last year, 2009, the secret for helping students learn.

    In my class of 214 engineering students I started by eliminating lectures, assignments and tests – and replacing them with a story. As the story unfolded it presented a series of authentic problems, to the 17 teams of 8-12 students we created, and each team would meet separately to reengineer an electrical or electronic product of their choice, to replace hazardous materials- no mercury, lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium – and to make the product easy to dissemble at the end of its useful life to reclaim usable materials.

    Results were gratifying as students learned to communicate, collaborate and problem solve.

    In 2017, I organized the non-profit Discovery-Learning Association to help teachers and others learn to write stories.
    It has been slow going, but I now have a robust 3-act. 12-scene Story Writers Template that enables one to create engaging, enlightening, and empowering stories that enables small teams or learners use their agency, curiosity, and creativity in addressing authentic needs.

    My first story on Unschooling is now in the final stages of being made available in an online course.

    We are looking for a few volunteers to assist in beta-testing, and after my wife, Marilyn, and I spent a delightful evening with Allison learning about her work, thought this might be an appropriate forum.

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